The Graduates (1) aka The Playboys (4) aka The Question Marks (2)
1959 - Front : John Cappello Standing (L to R) Bruce Hammond, Fred Mancuso and Jack Scorsone
The Graduates (1) (Buffalo N.Y)
aka The Playboys (4) aka The Question Marks (2)
The Playboys (4)
1957 - Don't Do Me Wrong / Why Do I Love You, Why Do I Care (Mercury 71228)
The Graduates (1)
1959 - Ballad of A Girl And Boy / Care (Shan-Todd 0055)
1959 - What Good Is Graduation / Lonely (Corsican 0058)
The Question Marks (2)
1959 - Ballad of A Girl And Boy / Concerto rock (Inst. by The Tune Rockers) (First 102)
Johnny Holliday & The Graduates (1)
1963 - Goodbye My Love / Ballad Of A Boy And A Girl (Lawn 208)
In 1956, six guys decided to form a vocal group. They were frat members and high school students (mostly at Lafayette High School and Hutch Tech). Jack Scorsone, Ronald Page, Bruce,Hammond, Raymond Baunler, Harold Rogers and Anthony Mancuso called themselves The Rays. By 1957, they went to a Buffalo demo studio and recorded their one original song, Jack’s “Why Do I Love You, Why Do I Care”. Local DJ Frank Ward flipped when he heard it and immediately played it on the air. It got a great response so he called up somebody affiliated with Mercury Records, played it over the phone, and Mercury expressed an interest. A few days later the boys got an offer to come to New York City to record it.
Two things happened as they set about recording - they learned of the already-existing Rays (soon to hit with “Silhouettes”) and had to come up with a name change. A nearby copy of Playboy magazine gave them the inspiration. And they had to come up with a B-side. Jack Scorsone sat down and wrote “Don’t Do Me Wrong” off the top of his head. The group recorded it in two takes, with no chance to correct the couple bad notes that appeared! Back to Buffalo… the group was coming to grips with their whirlwind of success. In just a few short weeks they’d gone from demo to national label. Waiting for news of it they were asked to perform at a school assembly and were introduced as Recording Artists, to great adulation. And a few days later they started hearing “Why Do I Love You, Why Do I Care” on the radio.
Following the release of The Playboys' 45 membership changed and eventually settled into a lineup of Johnny Cappello, Bruce Hammond, Fred Mancuso and Jack Scorsone. They adopted a new name - The Graduates. DJs Tommy Shannon and Phil Todaro decided to issue a record on them, on their new label Shan-Todd (named for Shannon -Todaro). They'd previously hit with their first Shan-Todd release "Rockin' Crickets" by The Hot Toddys. The Graduates 1959 "Ballad of A Girl And Boy" came out as Shan-Todd 0055. Shan-Todd soon underwent a name change to Corsican Records, kept the same numbering sequence, in time for the next Graduates release ("What Good Is Graduation", also 1959).
They recorded this one at Buffalo Recording Service, scene of their first recording when The Playboys made a demo there. This time however it was a different group - John Cappello was now the lead vocalist. "Ballad of A Girl And Boy" made it on to the national Billboard Hot 100, at #74. The followup "What Good Is Graduation" did not make it onto the top charts, though it it hit the Bubbling Under The Hot 100 chart at #110. If there were local charts I'm sure these achieved Top Ten status, especially with the push the DJs behind the labels could give them. They were definitely played often on WKBW, a local station but one that reached far up and down the East Coast.
1959 - (L to R) John Cappello , Jack Scorsone, Bruce Hammond and Fred Mancuso
Whether they got properly paid for the records is anyone's guess. Standard procedure back then was that artists would recieve little royalties but could expect the make money with live appearances. Some big shows in father cities had to be cancelled when the still-young members couldn't get time off from school to travel! But the group apparently had their largest-paying show close to home, when they received the then-astronomical sum of $1500 for a show at Rochester's War Memorial Auditorium. With no real management, member Bruce Hammond handled the money and they all got paid.
With some shows, some TV appearances, nothing was breaking for them, and the group drifted apart. In 1963 a new single appeared on Lawn Records coupling "Goodbye My Love" with "Ballad Of A Boy And A Girl". Now credited to Johnny Holliday & The Graduates, apparently most of the group was not informed of its release until after the fact. "Goodbye My Love" is actually a retitled version of "What Good Is Graduation" making this single something of a reissue - merely compiling their two former A-sides.
Nothing much happened with this 1963 release, but it's then-dated sound couldn't really compete in the year 1963 with the coming invasion. That same year the Beatles 45 was released on Lawn's parent company Swan Records. An interesting and curious side-note is that many years later the group became aware of a mysterious record using their recordings. In 1959 a record was released on the First Records label, aka Another First, which contained "Ballad Of A Boy And A Girl" but now credited to The Question Marks. This seems to be an out take from the original Graduates sessions.
Johnny Cappello with the Tune Rockers
The flip is also credited to The Question Marks but this is actually an out-take by The Tune Rockers ! Point of interest is that John Capello belonged to both groups, and Dick Lawrence - owner of First - had been involved in managing both groups. More interesting is the fact that the record doesn't seem to have been issued in an attempt to make a hit - the artists involved weren't informed, so there could be no promotion, and it was never distributed at all in their hometown!
(updated by Hans-Joachim)
The Playboys (4)
Don't Do Me Wrong Why Do I Love You, Why Do I Care
The Graduates (1)
Ballad of A Girl And Boy Care
What Good Is Graduation Lonely
Question Marks (2)
Ballad Of A Girl And A Boy / Concerto Rock
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